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No surprises anywhere

So Microsoft released some fancy new gaming console, and showed off a bunch of games on it. Unfortunately, as Anita Sarkeesian noted, there was a casual omission.

Thanks #XboxOne #E3 press conference for revealing to us exactly zero games featuring a female protagonist for the next generation.

Oh, that’s an interesting factual observation. But go read further and notice how the mob of gentlemen responded.

Who would have thought that accurately describing reality would inspire such rage? By now, I think all of us.

Comments

  1. marko says

    People are capable of being such wonderful creatures, why do they so often choose to be such utter arseholes?

  2. Moggie says

    If only there were some technology (outside the NSA) which could reliably tag Twitter accounts with the age of the user, so that one could distinguish between the real twelve-year-olds and those adult men who merely behave like them.

    BTW, Anita Sarkeesian rocks.

  3. sharkjack says

    Not a single female lead and a rape joke during the killer instinct demonstration. What a mess. Of course the same people are defending that too. It’s appalling.

  4. Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters says

    The most interesting (or at least the most depressing and rage-inducing) thing for me is that a lot of those twitter accounts are men’s actual names, and I doubt they’re “parodies.”

  5. unbound says

    The Xbox One is getting universally slammed about a lot of things. At least they are being consistent…

    Not really surprised by the tweets. The gaming community has plenty of idiots in it…

  6. ekwhite says

    These are the same asshats who scream about free speech if you criticize them, but find it OK to dogpile on a feminist critic with vile insults.

  7. Ivan says

    I’ve read/listened to several Anita’s posts, and while a lot of her points seem valid, she seems to suffer from… let’s call it “Marxist rhetoric”. Each cliche like “…exemplify the male privilege and male entitlement…” causes my bullshit detectors to (mis)fire. English is not my native language, but I feel that there has to be a better phrase. Like… male gamers despise female gamers and believe that girls have to admit their own inferiority? Unless Anita reads “Politics and the English language” , she’ll keep preaching to the choir.

  8. says

    The remark in the KI demo certainly deserves more comment. Kris Straub flagged it up:

    http://chainsawsuit.com/2013/06/10/video-games-event/

    It’s being overlooked because of the PR train wreck surrounding DRM, but it’s the sort of casual misogyny (sp?) Microsoft should be actively discouraging, not unconsciously perpetuating and it’d be nice if the games press took them to task about it. Unfortunately MS pre-emptively cancelled most of the interviews between the press and their executives.

  9. says

    #7/Ivan, the phrases she’s using are widely accepted terminology for the phenomena she’s describing.

    I’m not sure what Marxist rhetoric is, but I would’ve assumed it’d be in German.

  10. Chie Satonaka says

    Lots of shit in there, but the one from Craig near the bottom really stood out to me: “Weird. Almost like they wanted relatable main characters.”

    Women are not relatable. We’re not human, we’re not people. We’re some “other” thing. Male is the default. The fact that these assholes spew the same shit over and over again is why people like Anita need to repeat themselves so often. BECAUSE THIS SHIT NEVER CHANGES.

  11. Nick Gotts says

    let’s call it “Marxist rhetoric” – Ivan

    Or we could call it “fried cuttlefish” or “the harmony of the spheres”. After all, if we’re going to use inaccurate terminology, we might as well be imaginative about it.

  12. w00dview says

    The gaming community has plenty of idiots in it…

    Oh lordy, you said it. I have been finding in recent years that while I still love to play video games, many “gamers” are spoiled, entitled little shits which really drag the hobby down in a big way. It is a community which has a lot of problems concerning diversity and seems to be in just as much denial about these problems as the skeptic movement.

    These are the same asshats who scream about free speech if you criticize them, but find it OK to dogpile on a feminist critic with vile insults.

    They mainly use free speech as a noble sounding cover for harassment. As I said, they feel they are entitled to bully and silence someone into agreeing with them. Gobshites like this don’t give a flying fuck about free speech, they just want to use any method to enforce the status quo and quibbling about free speech makes them think that they are a heroic freedom fighter instead of the vicious authoritarian bullies that they actually are.

  13. Moggie says

    Mattir:

    The most interesting (or at least the most depressing and rage-inducing) thing for me is that a lot of those twitter accounts are men’s actual names, and I doubt they’re “parodies.”

    Anyone who uses their real name online to behave like a douche is likely to regret it when they realise that prospective employers see that shit.

  14. w00dview says

    Lots of shit in there, but the one from Craig near the bottom really stood out to me: “Weird. Almost like they wanted relatable main characters.”

    Nope, no misogyny in the gaming community! Nosiree bob!

  15. says

    It’s interesting how many guys basically commented with “who cares?” She cared enough to tweet it and they cared enough to respond to it, so what’s up with that?

    I’ve noticed that before; this weird pretense of not caring, while their actions clearly indicate the opposite. They really, really care about letting you know that they don’t care. Seems almost childish.

  16. w00dview says

    Oops, meant to blockquote. Let’s try that again.

    Lots of shit in there, but the one from Craig near the bottom really stood out to me: “Weird. Almost like they wanted relatable main characters.”

    Nope, no misogyny in the gaming community! Nosiree bob!

  17. madrone says

    I’m probably missing something, but I always think of “Gamers” as a subset of “Losers”.

  18. says

    I think more games should take the approach of letting you select/customize the main character, or at lest offer you a male and female options.

    It goes beyond saying that at least on RPG it should be a default (I’m looking at you The Witcher and Alpha Protocol), but more games should offer the option to choose your gender for the main character.

  19. says

    Another thing that strikes me is when people invoke the idea of the “hysterical woman”, like telling her not to get “bent out of shape” or the wonderful comment; “calm your tits.”

    This is not the first time that has occurred. For some reason, any time that a woman doesn’t sit quietly and look pretty, she will be accused of throwing a tantrum.

  20. says

    #18/madrone, that sort of generalisation is really unconstructive. Please don’t.

    As far as character customisation goes, I think that’s a bit of a red herring. Yes, games that let you build a blank-slate avatar should always provide a gender option. However avatar-building doesn’t suit all game types; they lie on a spectrum between a wholly player-created and a wholly writer-created character. The pleasure of adopting an interesting pre-written persona is one I hope to continue to have in the future.

    What we need are for player characters of the writer-created type to be more diverse. At this late stage in the Metal Gear franchise I’d be more interested in a game where you played as The Boss than Big Boss.

  21. says

    Not a gamer, myself, but: I was in a computer store the other day, and there were boxes of some souped-up video card on the shelves. The box pictured a soldier bearing an impressive-looking assault rifle, wearing a helmet and cammo — who was, of course, a shapely female, and her skin-tight shirt was open to below the bottom of her cleavage.

    *sigh*

  22. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I wish people would think twice about—even jokingly—saying a large portion of this shit must come from “12-year-old boys.” That’s a myth we repeat for ourselves all the time. But it is a myth. These are grown-ass men. They’ve always been grown-ass men.

    What “everyone knows”—-that this behavior is odd and embarrassing because one usually finds a 12-year-old-boy behind it and no respectable grown-up would seriously act this way—is bullshit.

    Men have always acted this way. The 12-Year-Old-Boy rhetorical defense is just and only that; a defense. We tell it to ourselves to make the picture seem less grim, the way we say murderers and rapists are “monsters,” “others” who represent a fringe.

    It’s bullshit. This is bog standard grown-up man behavior. Deal with it.

  23. crocodoc says

    I was just about to write how fanatically the mob cares to express that they don’t care… But LykeX has mentioned that already.

    The comments are not surprising. What surprises and frustrates me is the flood of “rebuttals”, how bad they are done, and how they are celebrated. I’m not a video gamer but I assume that Anita’s series has flaws and factual errors that one could point out to start a discussion. But all I see is a tremendous misrepresentation of her work, combined with jealous comments about the money that she raised.
    I watched Thunderf00t’s new masterpiece yesterday.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_O1R7Zq9EI

    He calls it ” Feminism versus FACTS (Part 3, RE Damsel in distress II) ” but interestingly enough, he does not spend ONE SECOND on her DiD2 video. It’s 8:31 minutes quotemining, showing Anita giving talks, explaining how inappropriate the word “patriarchy” is because it’s all art, ridiculing quotes that he invented and falsly attributes to her (“Mario makes society sexist”, “Videogames are written to suppress women”). Not ONE word about the ugly scenes that she showed in her last video. And the crows, er, crowds love him and applaud to this shit: 4500 likes vs 130 dislikes currently.

  24. zmidponk says

    I think Anita’s actually not quite right there. Titanfall was mentioned, and that is a game where you can choose the gender of your player character. Of course, that’s not exactly a huge improvement, so her underlying point is still completely valid and accurate, but what she’s said isn’t 100% accurate.

    Andrea Vanness:

    I think more games should take the approach of letting you select/customize the main character, or at lest offer you a male and female options.

    It goes beyond saying that at least on RPG it should be a default (I’m looking at you The Witcher and Alpha Protocol), but more games should offer the option to choose your gender for the main character.

    Well, with the Witcher games, that would be kind of difficult, as it was based on the Witcher stories and novels by Andrzej Sapkowski, and the main character in those, who is also the main character in the games, was written as being male. This is also why you can’t even alter his appearance, unlike many other RPGs – his appearance in the game is as described in the stories and novels. So I would alter that to add in, “…unless there’s a very good reason not to”, but otherwise completely agree with you.

  25. carlie says

    Well, with the Witcher games, that would be kind of difficult, as it was based on the Witcher stories and novels by Andrzej Sapkowski, and the main character in those, who is also the main character in the games, was written as being male.

    But, well… so what? Isn’t what you do when you read to immerse yourself in another character to the point where you feel like it’s you going through everything? Haven’t you ever read a book where the main character has the same name as you, and how awesome it is to feel like it’s really you in the book? Why not give the option to go through as the original character or to have it bend to be you personally?

  26. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Of course, that’s not exactly a huge improvement, so her underlying point is still completely valid and accurate, but what she’s said isn’t 100% accurate.

    It’s important, though, to make sure we point out that something she said wasn’t ONE HUNDRED PERCENT ACCURATE, just to make sure there’s some plausibility to the “disagreement” and “criticism” she’s getting.

    Fucking stop it.

  27. says

    #23: The latter half of your comment, especially “deal with it”, implies that it is something which must simply be accepted as part of male behavior. As someone looking to take back his gender and his pastime from this sort of abberant behavior, I respectfully disagree. The is the capacity and the utmost necessity to do better.

    The warning about framing this as the work of the usual “racist McLovins” of the internet (to steal Matt Fraction’s coinage) is duly noted, though.

  28. says

    #21/

    I agree with some of what you said. A good example of a written personality would be Commander Shepard, and depends on you which gender. (But I’m totally biased here… Jennifer Hale voice acting is simply the best of the best)

    There are games that take characters and narratives that require a pre written and defined character (Batman Arkham games, for example, or the wonderful “No One Lives Forever” shooters with one of the most interesting female leads) And on this category, I agree that more games with female protagonists are needed.

    But another example, take the System Shock old games or Deus Ex Human Revolution. The overall narrative of the games would not change if you could play them as female, and in the case of those games the fact that they do not give a gender selection option is a problem.

    TL:DR

    1.- More games should offer the option to select your gender or even better fully customize your characer
    2.- On games on which that is not possible for X reasons… there needs to be a bigger female lead presence.

  29. says

    The latter half of your comment, especially “deal with it”, implies that it is something which must simply be accepted as part of male behavior

    I’m guessing, but I think what Josh meant was “deal with it”, as opposed to “pretend that it’s just kids, so you don’t have to deal with it.” I.e. accepting it only insofar that you have to accept reality before you can change it.

  30. zmidponk says

    @Josh

    Did I, in any way, shape or form, indicate that this little error invalidates her argument?

    No, in fact, in THE VERY PART OF MY POST YOU QUOTED, said THE EXACT OPPOSITE.

    So if you’re going to accuse me of doing something, make sure that at least you’re not quoting me saying something which clearly says I’m not doing it.

  31. says

    I think Shadowfall raises an interesting question: is a character that is purely a player avatar really a protagonist, in the sense that matters to this discussion? If we’re after positive depictions of women in games then there’s not a lot you can do with an empty shell.

  32. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    #23: The latter half of your comment, especially “deal with it”, implies that it is something which must simply be accepted as part of male behavior.

    You may not know me, Alex, but no, I don’t mean at all that this should be accepted. I only mean we need to face the fact that it’s normative behavior for men, that it’s a horror, and grapple with it on those grounds rather than treating it like an aberrant behavior we can brush off.

  33. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Odd how gamers want games to be art but are quite reistant to the decontruction and expansion of tropes needed to grow an art form

  34. says

    #21: Hear hear. (Although I took Adam Jensen to be a more defined character than you did.)

    #30: Gotcha, I misparsed the tone.

  35. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Did I, in any way, shape or form, indicate that this little error invalidates her argument?

    The problem is that minor quibbles of this sort—which are unobjectionable by themselves—are never “by themselves” and without context. When someone’s enduring a misogynist shit storm and we say, “well, it was not ALL the way totally accurate,” that cannot help but to legitimize the abuse. Even though you don’t intend it to and aren’t doing it out of malice. There’s just no way for that to be helpful in such a context.

  36. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Side note: anyone else come away from Bioshock Infinite thinking it’d be better if Elizabeth had been POV character and theb game rewritten to accommodate that?

  37. zmidponk says

    carlie:

    But, well… so what? Isn’t what you do when you read to immerse yourself in another character to the point where you feel like it’s you going through everything? Haven’t you ever read a book where the main character has the same name as you, and how awesome it is to feel like it’s really you in the book? Why not give the option to go through as the original character or to have it bend to be you personally?

    Even when I get wrapped up in a character in a book, I don’t go through it, if it happens to be a female character, and strike out ‘she’ and put in ‘he’. The character is already established as being male. To expect him to suddenly become female is like expecting Jon Snow to randomly become Julie Snow or Sansa Stark to suddenly become Sean Stark in the next Song of Ice and Fire book.

  38. zmidponk says

    Josh:

    The problem is that minor quibbles of this sort—which are unobjectionable by themselves—are never “by themselves” and without context. When someone’s enduring a misogynist shit storm and we say, “well, it was not ALL the way totally accurate,” that cannot help but to legitimize the abuse. Even though you don’t intend it to and aren’t doing it out of malice. There’s just no way for that to be helpful in such a context.

    So, later, some misogynistic ass can come along, see this error and go “AHA!!! TITANFALL! You’re talking shit! We can disregard everything you say because you didn’t mention Titanfall!!!”? Do you really think that, just because we don’t mention some factual inaccuracies in what Anita said, the misogynists won’t notice themselves?

  39. Gregory Greenwood says

    Annnnd once again I feel a pressing need to point out that, whilst I enjoy videogames from the less offensively bigoted end of the market, I in no way identify as a ‘gamer’, because the term gamer has now become indelibly associated with ragingly misogynist arsehats. It is the same reason why I never play online multiplayer games. There are hordes of self-identified gamers out there who seem to spend inordinate amounts of time being the nastiest poor excuses for human beings that they are capable of being. That they react with such vitriole to Anita simply stating an objective fact about the press conference shows just how far reaching this rot really is.

    The sheer intensity and ubiquity of the bigotry on display is nauseating, and there seems to be no will in the industry itself to do anything about it, as the rape joke from the Microsoft press conference amply demonstrates.

    There are days when I feel that gamers who aren’t screeching sexist arseholes are an endangered breed, and I wonder whether the industry is even worth saving.

    Josh, Official SpokesGay @ 23;

    I wish people would think twice about—even jokingly—saying a large portion of this shit must come from “12-year-old boys.” That’s a myth we repeat for ourselves all the time. But it is a myth. These are grown-ass men. They’ve always been grown-ass men.

    You are right on the money here. I have heard that the average age of gamers is now located somewhere within the 30-35 age bracket – it seems likely that most of the authors of those misogynist comments are grown men who probably have jobs, maybe families, and even a mortgage. We can’t pretend anymore that this issue is limited to hormonal teenagers who will ‘grow out of it’, or exists only within a fringe element of society divorced from the cultural mainstream.

    This kind of sexism is the modern mainstream.

    It is not even a case of people showing their true, ugly colours when afforded a platform paired with anonymity – many of those commenters post under what appears to be their actual names, because their attitudes are so normalised that they aren’t afraid to have their bigotry linked to their real identities – they wear their misogyny as a badge of honour, and a mark of their supposed status as ‘Real Men(TM)’. Anita’s work has shone a spotlight on misogyny within gaming, but the bigotry that this has uncovered runs far deeper, and has roots that reach back throughout human history. This is a new expression of a toxic attitude that is very old indeed.

  40. Dunc says

    Odd how gamers want games to be art but are quite reistant to the decontruction and expansion of tropes needed to grow an art form

    Yeah. Apparently there’s a contingent out there who are not only perfectly happy with lazy, hacky writing, but are militantly opposed to the availability of anything else. Nobody’s trying to eliminate the military first person shooter, or even the damsel in distress trope, we’re just asking for a wider range of different stories. You know, more choice. Who objects to that? It’s like there’s a whole bunch of people who not only want ass-flavoured chips, they want there to be no other flavour of chips.

  41. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Do you really think that, just because we don’t mention some factual inaccuracies in what Anita said, the misogynists won’t notice themselves?

    That’s a good point.

  42. koncorde says

    Mirrors Edge is the only game I can mention in recent memory who had not just 1 significant female character (and the protagonist at that) but several key individuals – all strong and independent in their own right, with flaws and warts where appropriate. All the faceless bad guys however are seemingly men…which always jarred a little. It’s also the only female character (or female role) I have ever played (I think).

    Why?

    Because I struggle to identify with many of the females that are shoehorned into games, not that I often identify with many of the men.

    I can only imagine how awkward that makes it for women gamers to get even a fraction of the enjoyment of the games that I do.

    And then I just extend that thinking from games to TV, movies, board games, books, toys etc and I feel quite sad inside. I hope that by the time I have a daughter (well, I think it’s equally important for any son I may have too) she will be better represented in the world at large, and that it will be more inclusive to all gender identities.

    I don’t want male characters to disappear. I don’t want them written out, off, or bumped in exchange for a woman – I’d just like to play a game with my kids in the future where they can be whoever and whatever they want to be, and that goes for body shape and other identity issues.

    I am disappointed with Thunderfoot, The Thinking Atheist and others that feel they must respond to Anitas every video with their own venomous personal points with rebuttals as if there must be a counterpoint. They are Faux News’ing Anita at every given opportunity with their “fair & balanced” (ha!) reviews of videos people paid for to see exactly because of their activities.

  43. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    You know while were talking about tropes; know what I’ve been curious and want to see? game/story of damsel in destress from damsel pov. you’re snatched at night and locked in a large evil supernatural fortress and must utilize strategy, stealth and wits to escape and thwart the evil lurking in the castle

  44. koncorde says

    @40 @43 – Lets face it these are people that blame her for the vast amounts of money that she managed to raise on kickstarter.

    Even when she is not a fault, she could hardly stop people giving her money, they will find something to pick at. The fact she cannot possibly deal with every nuance in the gaming industry is irrelevant to them. Pointing out factual errors is irrelevant, they weren’t listening anyway.

    The facts have never ever got in their way before of conducting a “witch hunt”.

  45. WharGarbl says

    @Ing
    #37

    Side note: anyone else come away from Bioshock Infinite thinking it’d be better if Elizabeth had been POV character and the game rewritten to accommodate that?

    Depending how much of the story rewrite you’re thinking about. It would be an interesting game with Elizabeth as lead, although the storyline would have to be overhauled to handle that.
    Basically, I don’t know if it would be better. As it is, I think its pretty good.
    Maybe one of the planned DLC will explore Elizabeth as lead!

    @Andrea
    #29

    But another example, take the System Shock old games or Deus Ex Human Revolution. The overall narrative of the games would not change if you could play them as female, and in the case of those games the fact that they do not give a gender selection option is a problem.

    Depending on budget, they do need prioritize. If the main character speak (verbally), you’ll need to record at least two sets of lines (one for each gender) and write new line to handle the fact that the main character is a different gender. And as long as gaming company’s dumb-as-shit marketing department decide that feature X is more important than having an alternate gender version to choose from…

    Since we’re talking about XBOX-One… it seems that PS4 is pretty much taking a jab at it from all direction. And either intentionally or unintentionally, a jab regarding female presence in video game too.
    Games w/ Female Lead (or one you can choose to be female)
    XBOX-One: …
    PS4: Mirror Edge Prequel, Transition, Dragon Age Inquisition…

  46. Gregory Greenwood says

    Ing:Intellectual Terrorist “Starting Tonight, People will Whine” @ 45;

    You know while were talking about tropes; know what I’ve been curious and want to see? game/story of damsel in destress from damsel pov. you’re snatched at night and locked in a large evil supernatural fortress and must utilize strategy, stealth and wits to escape and thwart the evil lurking in the castle

    That would be an interesting means of turning the trope on its head, doubly so if one of the obstacles you have to deal with is the various inept attempts at ‘rescuing’ you performed by a male character who has taken it upon himself to save the damsel in distress. The kind of person who would set fire to the castle, and only remember that the person he is supposed to be resuing is still inside after the fact. Or who, after the lead character has just spent substantial time and effort silently evading guards and is almost within reach of escape, comes charging in and alerts every henchman and monster in the place…

  47. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    @femfreq Get over yourself. Women make up a small margin of their demographic. Your tastes are obscure and unprofitable. Nothing else to it.— Forever cynical (@ReissDJO) June 10, 2013

    Minorities are minorities, nothing else to it. No minority should expect to be represented in video games because they’re minorities. The ‘tastes’ of minorities are obscure and unprofitable. Minorities don’t matter. Only straight, white men, 13-30 years of age matter and make money and Japanese gaming companies that export their products to a global market know this best.

    Do people who write things like that tweet even know what they’re saying? Do they think through the consequences of their thoughts? Do they have any idea what their sentences entail? Are they really just stupid?

    (warning: rhetorical questions above)

  48. WharGarbl says

    @koncorde
    #44
    I say give it time. With more and more game developer leaving the “shackles” of AAA development (and their risk “averse” marketing department), I’m confident that we’re going to get more games with varied female character.
    If you don’t want to wait that long, I would recommend keep a watch on SuperGiantGame’s Transistor.

  49. w00dview says

    Dunc @ 42;

    Apparently there’s a contingent out there who are not only perfectly happy with lazy, hacky writing, but are militantly opposed to the availability of anything else.

    My favourite type of whiny gamer is the one who always complains about cliches and stereotypes within games such as the macho space marine but then will throw a shit-fit if their favourite game series attempts ANYTHING different.

    Ing:Intellectual Terrorist “Starting Tonight, People will Whine” @ 45;

    You know while were talking about tropes; know what I’ve been curious and want to see? game/story of damsel in destress from damsel pov. you’re snatched at night and locked in a large evil supernatural fortress and must utilize strategy, stealth and wits to escape and thwart the evil lurking in the castle

    I remember Paper Mario on the N64 did something like this. After every major chapter, it would switch to Peach being kidnapped in her own castle which Bowser took over. These segments included stealth sections, puzzle solving and talking to various characters to get information on what Bowser’s plans were. It was a pretty cool idea and would also like to see it expanded into a full title.

    I basically concur with everything Gregory Greenwood @ 41 said.

  50. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    Katherine Lorraine, Tortue du Désert avec un Coupe-Boulon,

    I’m a gaymer and that solves that problem for me and other gay gamers …mostly.

    Gregory Greenwood, abandoning a term doesn’t do anything but alienate the minorities who might identify with it. Some minorities, once alienated, are in no position to claim a niche for themselves.

    Gamer is an expansive term. Like with atheism/atheist, any de facto gamer should be fighting to keep it inclusive and turning those against that ideal away from it (often, as we’ve seen, a side effect of being inclusive).

  51. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    Gregory Greenwood

    There are days when I feel that gamers who aren’t screeching sexist arseholes are an endangered breed, and I wonder whether the industry is even worth saving.

    You might consider checking that statement, because if you wouldn’t say the same thing about another culture and the people who identify with it, you’re excluding something about which you could legitimately think the same exact thing.

    I’m not saying you wouldn’t apply it to that other culture, mind, but giving warning if you aren’t.

    And that kind of thinking is problematic, because, and seriously, what about all of the other people who identify as gamers? They matter too and I doubt very much if they think that a culture with which they identify isn’t worth saving. Very much like that other culture. You know the one.

  52. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Oh building on my idea: behind scenes would also give a chance to explore and deconstruct the faceless enemy mooks. have the villians army be ppartially magically anthropromorphized animals who arent smart enough to ununderstand what they’re being told to do, with pleanty of enemy chatter to establish them as like naive walking house pets. explores a trope and incentivizes stealth over violent resolution. can possibly work in a gameplay element to win by out empathizeing instead of out fighting, by being nice to wounded or abused minions to help turn their attitude favorably towards you so you can use them to escape.

  53. Amphiox says

    re @45; @49;

    I’d like see such a game, interspersed with cutscenes showing a male NPC trying to rescue you action-game style (while the game itself is a stealth puzzler), which can play up every action game cliche for comedic effect.

    Then, at the climactic moment, he charges in to your rescue, blunders into a trap, and you have to rescue him.

    That, or you have to solve a puzzle that exposes the final boss’ glowing weak point or else the erstwhile action dies miserably (and doing so is optional – you can let him be squished and still finish the game.)

  54. thetalkingstove says

    @Crocoduck in #24

    And the crows, er, crowds love him (Tfoot) and applaud to this shit: 4500 likes vs 130 dislikes currently.

    It kinda makes you despair. I think at this point Thunderfool could pop up with a ten minute video of himself simply honking like a seal whilst glaring at a picture of Rebecca Watson and it’d get 10,000 likes and hailed as a masterful take down of feminazi hetoric.

    Although actually, that would probably be an improvement on his current efforts.

  55. says

    @Tomathy:

    Gamers are an amorphous bunch, just like any group of people excited by something. Trekkies, otaku, comic book fans, do we want to abandon the terminology of any of these if there are an abundance of asshats? Or do we want to bring that kind of behavior out into the open and show straight out we won’t tolerate that? Why abandon a perfectly good term when you can make people see where the issues lie and get them to stop it?

  56. says

    @40 @43 – Lets face it these are people that blame her for the vast amounts of money that she managed to raise on kickstarter.

    Even when she is not a fault, she could hardly stop people giving her money, they will find something to pick at. The fact she cannot possibly deal with every nuance in the gaming industry is irrelevant to them. Pointing out factual errors is irrelevant, they weren’t listening anyway.

    The facts have never ever got in their way before of conducting a “witch hunt”.

    Took the words right outta my mouth. Correct factual inaccuracies if it makes you feel better, but don’t fall for the lie that the haters give any sort of fucks, flying or otherwise, about the factual content of the videos that are making them shit their pants. They’re just mad because their privilege is being overtly threatened.

  57. vaiyt says

    There’s no way to downplay the level of knuckle-dragging assholery of the troglodytes that make up the gamer subculture. In many ways, I’m glad that I’ve kept out of it for years since the 32/64-bit era.

  58. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    If the befriending enemies is a mechanic, we have an act end with the hero comming inas you’re working your escape, indescriminately hacking through your allies to save you

  59. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Andrea Vanness #19

    I think more games should take the approach of letting you select/customize the main character, or at lest offer you a male and female options.

    It goes beyond saying that at least on RPG it should be a default (I’m looking at you The Witcher and Alpha Protocol), but more games should offer the option to choose your gender for the main character.

    In fairness, The Witcher is based on a book so it makes sense that the main character is the character from the book. Dunno about Alpha Protocol. However, other than specific situations like that, I firmly agree. I’m not much of a gamer, but I do particularly like games where you can customise your look (or FPS, where the look of the character obviously isn’t an issue) because obviously the game is more relateable if the avatar looks like you. Mass Effect managed it pretty well, why can’t everyone else?

  60. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    My game chars NEVER look like me. I’m replaying New Vegas and trued to maje a female Dr Bashir from DS9

  61. Gregory Greenwood says

    Katherine Lorraine, Tortue du Désert avec un Coupe-Boulon @ 50, and Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts @ 54 and 55;

    Sorry about the ill chosen turn of phrase. While there are days when I have similar feelings about the ‘atheist’ and ‘skeptic’ labels (thanks for that, by the way, slymepitters, T-foot and assorted other arsehats), I see that throwing the entire community who identifies with that phrase under the bus is unhelpful. It is better to say that those terms, as of right now, have extremely problematic associations and connotations, and that it will take concerted effort to reclaim them from the reactionary and bigoted elements within those communities.

    Maybe we need a new variant of the term to denote our more enlightened approach to things – Gaming+/Gamers+, perhaps? If nothing else, you know it will annoy the dudebros…

  62. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Tried to make*

    Fucking phone

  63. says

    Directly inspired by Anita Sarkeesian’s videos, I’ve been reading a lot of video gaming news lately. My impression is that a lot of gamers feel like their medium is always under attack, from political skapegoating to DRM to evil game companies (like EA and Zynga). While obviously not the cause of hostility to Sarkeesian, I imagine it gives many gamers an excuse to blow her off as another critic, and never examine their prejudices.

    However, I can’t really see Sarkeesian as an opponent of the medium… She sort of inspired me to get back in to gaming, and I spent a lot of money on a console.

  64. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    Katherine Lorraine,

    Read my post again. You might notice that I was agreeing with you …

  65. says

    @Vaiyt:

    Way to generalize, am I a knuckle-dragging troglodyte too on top of the “loser” label from earlier?

    @Gregory Greenwood:

    It angers me to have the term “gamer” co-opted by assholes, but I’m not going to run away and hide under another label. I’m a passionate gamer. I love games, I like playing them and I like talking about them. That’s what makes me a gamer. But people toss around terms and statements like “gamers are assholes” and “gamers are losers” and “gamers are immature” and it’s just not true.

  66. WharGarbl says

    @ing
    #45

    You know while were talking about tropes; know what I’ve been curious and want to see? game/story of damsel in destress from damsel pov. you’re snatched at night and locked in a large evil supernatural fortress and must utilize strategy, stealth and wits to escape and thwart the evil lurking in the castle

    Portal?

    @Gregory
    #49
    Portal 2?

  67. carlie says

    Even when I get wrapped up in a character in a book, I don’t go through it, if it happens to be a female character, and strike out ‘she’ and put in ‘he’.

    zmidponk, if you’re male, then perhaps that’s because you haven’t had to practice much. If 90-95% of everything you encounter is from the other point of view, you start to get practice in it. Unless the character’s gender is an integral part of the storyline, there’s no reason to keep it one or the other. There isn’t really much reason not to.

    Get over yourself. Women make up a small margin of their demographic. Your tastes are obscure and unprofitable. Nothing else to it

    Yes, of course. That must be why that Kickstarter for female gaming figurines met its goal in the first 30 seconds and got up to $345,000 a few days later.

  68. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    Gregory Greenwood,

    The + is a great idea. And yeah, it will take a concerted effort to change the popular connotations of gamers and gaming, but go to a con and, expect for the obvious (and not so obvious stuff) being fought by Sarkeesian, you’ll notice that gamers, like atheists, are mostly good people with a vocal minority of bigoted assholes with a mostly silent majority of people merely ignorant and maintaining the status quo.

  69. John Horstman says

    @57: I love it. I generally like metafiction and genre deconstructions, and a feminist flavor just makes it tastier. Throw in some occasional fourth-wall breaks and cover art featuring a heavily sexualized, semi-nude depiction of the unplayable action hero in a spine-breaking pose that has nothing to do with the actual gameplay or story, and I think we have a winner.

  70. says

    I don’t see why they couldn’t gender bend characters from existing books/other media. Cosplayers do it all the time (e.g. women dressed as The Doctor or Han Solo or whomever). Also, why not have more women as the default MC if gender can’t be a choice for logistical reasons? It might eventually help in persuading a new generation of men that women are actually people too–if they become accustomed to playing out roles as women. Maybe someday we could even get to a point where boys could see women characters as role models that they would want to dress up as and emulate.

  71. Gregory Greenwood says

    Ing:Intellectual Terrorist “Starting Tonight, People will Whine” @ 56;

    Oh building on my idea: behind scenes would also give a chance to explore and deconstruct the faceless enemy mooks. have the villians army be ppartially magically anthropromorphized animals who arent smart enough to ununderstand what they’re being told to do, with pleanty of enemy chatter to establish them as like naive walking house pets. explores a trope and incentivizes stealth over violent resolution. can possibly work in a gameplay element to win by out empathizeing instead of out fighting, by being nice to wounded or abused minions to help turn their attitude favorably towards you so you can use them to escape.

    It would subvert the heck out of the hack n’ slash/shooter genres of indiscriminate carnage that usually dominate such storylines, with your character’s preparedness to look beyond blind animosity enabling you to turn the minions against their master and aid in both your escape and their liberation.

    @ 62;

    If the befriending enemies is a mechanic, we have an act end with the hero comming inas you’re working your escape, indescriminately hacking through your allies to save you

    Perhaps leaving you with a interesting choice – do you let it happen, try to reason with the would be ‘hero’ (knowing he won’t be inclined to listen easily), or do you take him down by means of outwitting him in order to save the creatures he is thoughtlessly butchering?

    ———————————————————————————————————————-

    Amphiox @ 57;

    I’d like see such a game, interspersed with cutscenes showing a male NPC trying to rescue you action-game style (while the game itself is a stealth puzzler), which can play up every action game cliche for comedic effect.

    The comedic potential is almost unlimited – the hero going crossbows-akimbo, only to realise that he can’t hit the broadside of a barn doing that.

    Facing off against a horde of mooks, only to find that they don’t politely insist on only attacking him one at a time in accordance with the strictures of Mook Chivalry (Warning -TV Tropes link), and instead have the sense to all jump him at once, or actually carry effective ranged weapons.

    The pompous, long-winded challenge/hero speech that gives the opposition ample time to trape and/or flank the hero.

    The options are endless.

    Then, at the climactic moment, he charges in to your rescue, blunders into a trap, and you have to rescue him.

    While he keeps trying to mansplain how you are rescuing him wrong, and offers useless and or counter-productive advice with unearned certitude.

    That, or you have to solve a puzzle that exposes the final boss’ glowing weak point or else the erstwhile action dies miserably (and doing so is optional – you can let him be squished and still finish the game.)

    Of course, he doesn’t think that he needs any help, and effectively keeps yelling at you to ‘get to the choppah!’ (more TV Tropes-ness. I can’t help myself. I’m weak), and should you help him survive, not only doesn’t he acknowledge that you saved him, but he chastises you for not getting to safety when he told you to…

    So its probably best to let him get squiahed all round.

  72. TonyJ says

    #29 Andrea Vanness

    I agree with some of what you said. A good example of a written personality would be Commander Shepard, and depends on you which gender. (But I’m totally biased here… Jennifer Hale voice acting is simply the best of the best)

    Completely agree on Jennifer Hale’s acting. The male Shepard seems very wooden in comparison.

  73. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    @Ing

    Ah, I see :) I don’t watch DS9 (or much TV in general, TBH) so I’m afraid I haven’t the foggiest what that would look like.

    However, my general point was that being able to make your character look how you want it to look makes it more relateable. I want mine to look like me, some people want an idealised version of themselves, some people want it to look like a female version of a favourite male character on a Sci-Fi series :) if it looks how you want it to look, the game is more fun because it’s easier to imagine it’s you. I can’t imagine how fucking irritating it is for women to constantly have to play male avatars.

  74. moarscienceplz says

    BTW, anybody care to teach me how to turn that mess into the kind of pretty links that PZ has?

  75. Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I) says

    @81 Moarscienceplz:

    you alter your href tag so it reads “{a href=”linky”}Link text{/a}” and replace curly braces with

  76. Gregory Greenwood says

    Ibis3, Let’s burn some bridges @ 76;

    I don’t see why they couldn’t gender bend characters from existing books/other media. Cosplayers do it all the time (e.g. women dressed as The Doctor or Han Solo or whomever).

    Is anyone else annoyed by the consistent whiteness, maleness and cis/het-ness of the Doctor (not to mention the periodic tendency toward patronising sexism with regard to his female companions)? This character is a humanoid alien who is over 900 years old, and it has been suggested in the show’s continuity that Timelords can regenerate into a different sex and gender identity than their former incarnations. Similarly, the idea that the Doctor’s ‘ethnicity’ must remain constant really is a non-issue, given the fact that the doctor is, afterall, not actually human. The established nature and abilities of the Doctor seem ideal as a means to introduce greater diversity and inclusivism into the lead character of this established science fiction show, and yet the option has never really been explored.

    I for one think that a lady Doctor would open up all kinds of possibilities for taking the show in new and interesting directions, so long as the concept weas handled intelligently and wasn’t allowed to descend into sexist farce along the lines of suddenly deciding that the character has to become ‘emotional’ at inopportune moments, or wheeling out the interminable scourge of not even remotely funny ‘time of the month’ jokes.

    Also, stepping back from the ubiquitous cultural and literal whiteness of prior Doctors would also be a very good thing.

    Any thoughts?

  77. says

    Is misogyny getting worse these days, or is it only more visible? Or just more visible to me?

    Does anyone know of long-term studies that show the level of misogyny over the recent decades?

  78. Anthony K says

    The male Shepard seems very wooden in comparison.

    Hey! Mark Meer is a friend of mine. I’ll won’t hear of this kind of slander.

  79. Anthony K says

    Okay, I retract that. His Shepard may be wooden in comparison to Jennifer Hale, but that’s it.

  80. Gregory Greenwood says

    moarscienceplz @ 80;

    I followed the link, and left the following comment;

    ————————————

    I have noticed that, as pointed out by Anita Sarkeesian from the Feminist Frequency site, there are no female protagonist characters in any of the games featured in this year’s E3 Microsoft press conference. I am very curious as to why that should be the case.

    It seems to be quite the oversight, given the increasing number of women who are gamers, and the increasing number of male gamers who are interested in more complex, nuanced and interesting (not to mention less crudely sexualised) female lead characters.

    It is something that your company may wish to bear in mind for the future. Why not create more games that are able to develop and expand this new and growing sector of the gaming market? It seems to me that you have much to gain and little to lose, outside of earning the anger of a loud and reactionary minority within the gaming community who represent the rump of the past, not the hope for the future, of gaming.

  81. Anthony K says

    I think it’s becoming more visible because more people are calling it out as a bad thing. People are now paying attention to the elephant in the room.

    I think/hope so too.

  82. carlie says

    I for one think that a lady Doctor would open up all kinds of possibilities for taking the show in new and interesting directions

    I’ve thought about that, but I think it would be more important to get a female head writer or producer than just to have a woman play the Doctor.

  83. Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I) says

    On videogame related news: Nintendo’s E3 conference featured a very small, but relevant detail: Super Mario 3d World for WiiU (a sequel/sidequel to the 3DS game Super Mario 3d Land) will feature a reversion of something directly cited in the first DiD video: Peach is back as a playable character! :tentativecelebration:

  84. Gregory Greenwood says

    Katherine Lorraine, Tortue du Désert avec un Coupe-Boulon @ 70;

    It angers me to have the term “gamer” co-opted by assholes, but I’m not going to run away and hide under another label. I’m a passionate gamer. I love games, I like playing them and I like talking about them. That’s what makes me a gamer. But people toss around terms and statements like “gamers are assholes” and “gamers are losers” and “gamers are immature” and it’s just not true.

    Here’s hoping that we can reclaim the label from the arseholes, and rehabilitate the term so that people don’t automatically make those kinds of assumptions about gamers and gaming anymore.

    ———————————————————————————————————————-

    WharGarbl @ 71;

    Portal 2?

    I love the Portal games – they are probably the closest equivalent to what we are talking about outside the indie gaming market.

    Remember – the cake is a lie…

    ;-P

    ———————————————————————————————————————-

    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts @ 73;

    The + is a great idea.

    I am fondly imagining the wailing, gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair amongst the MRAs that it would cause…

    And yeah, it will take a concerted effort to change the popular connotations of gamers and gaming, but go to a con and, expect for the obvious (and not so obvious stuff) being fought by Sarkeesian, you’ll notice that gamers, like atheists, are mostly good people with a vocal minority of bigoted assholes with a mostly silent majority of people merely ignorant and maintaining the status quo.

    So it is the same old story – a minority of vocal, bigoted jerks doing all they can to push their misogyny on everyone, while the majority are not complicit so much as ignorant and/or apathetic, or simply fear that any change to the status quo will hurt the community more than it helps it. Que false equivalancy between misogynists and those who oppose them, and plaintiff appeals that we all should just get along in order to avoid the dreaded Deep Rifts(TM).

    The parallels to the problems facing atheism are striking.

  85. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    Katherine Lorraine, right. Sorry. And good points, of course.

  86. says

    Re: 24 crocodoc 11 June 2013 at 8:31 am (UTC -5)
    Actually, there might be some reason to that. I can’t click the dislike button on his posts. Nothing happens.

  87. Gregory Greenwood says

    carlie @ 90;

    I’ve thought about that, but I think it would be more important to get a female head writer or producer than just to have a woman play the Doctor.

    Agreed – it would only work if the casting of a woman Doctor was only the most visible of a series of changes that would have to embrace the writing staff, the production staff and the whole ethos behind the show. If all that could be acheived, then real progress could be made in instilling a more progressive attitude into the entire Who mythos.

    Appointing any of a wide selection of highly capable women to the roles of head writer, producer and the directors of some (or all) of the episodes would really shake things up. Of course, there would be angry nerd MRAs ranting and raving about the ‘death of the Doctor’, but that is to be expected.

  88. says

    21 Alex W. 11 June 2013 at 8:12 am (UTC -5)

    #18/madrone, that sort of generalisation is really unconstructive. Please don’t.

    46 Katherine Lorraine, Tortue du Désert avec un Coupe-Boulon 11 June 2013 at 9:20 am (UTC -5)

    Thanks for calling me a loser, asshole.

    Thanks for being a loser, asshole.

    No, really. It sucks that ‘gamer’ is being made synonymous to ‘loser’ by assholes – but attacking those pointing this out isn’t helpful. Nor does it fix anything. It’s not much different than the Christian that comes and whines that not all Christians are intolerant assholes. What purpose does that server?

    At least Alex went on to focus on how to fix things.

  89. crocodoc says

    @ Barefoot Bree Interesting question. How would you measure that? In a 100% misogynistic society there is no misogyny. At least noone calls anything misogyny. In a 0% misogynistic society with equal rights there’s also no misogyny. The maximum visibility of misogyny must be somewhere in between.

  90. Gregory Greenwood says

    On the subject of E3, one of the face-palm worthy moments that I noticed came in the Metal Gear Solid 5 trailer (this is a Youtube video, so you know that you read the horribly nasty comments at your own risk), where we see Big Boss wearing combat fatigues with his eyepatch and, later, his mechanical arm, and we see Revolver Ocelot in his duster, along with various other characters, including Otocon and Miller, a weirdly attired kid, and assorted other male characters including a villain in a suit and skull mask (don’t ask – it’s a Metal Gear game). All this is happening against the backdrop of a harsh, arid environmnet (Afghanistan, I think)

    Of course, then we come to the only female character in the trailer (at about 3 minutes 56 seconds in). She is a mute sniper imaginatively named ‘Quiet’, and her chosen apparel for operating in this harsh, arid environment, in a role where stealth and precision are paramount, is…

    … A revealing black combat-bikini and torn nylons, cut to show as much as possible of her improbable figure. thus ensuring that stealth is rendered as difficult as possible short of wearing neon flashing signs, that she is entirely unarmoured, that her water loss and subsequent dehydration and risk of sun stroke (not to mention really nasty sunburn) will be maximised, and that she will be as uncomfortable as possible – all perfect for an elite soldier, I’m sure you’ll agree.

    On the other hand, she does have magic mascara that runs backwards, going from streaky mess to perfect application in a few seconds. Which must be such a useful ability… in a frikken’ warzone.

    Much head-desking did ensue.

  91. keinsignal says

    IRT the comments about reversing the “Damsel In Distress” trope and playing as the Damsel trying to work out a means of escape – I happen to be replaying the Paper Mario series, and several of them have some fun with the trope… In the game The Thousand-Year Door, for example, while the majority of the game is spent as Mario doing the quest-to-reunite-the-seven-MacGuffins thing, in between chapters you play as Princess Peach, who spends the game finding out as much as she can about her captors and their evil plans and smuggling the info back to Mario. The sequences are mostly on-rails and it’d be a stretch to call the game “feminist” in any significant way, but it’s fun watching offspring of the grandaddy of all Damsel In Distress games finding ways to tinker with the idea. The next game in the series, Super Paper Mario, has her as a playable character, which apparently they’ve never done since (unless you count the various non-narrative brawling/karting/sporting games).

    I realize this does not add much to the conversation but they’re really great games! You should check them out. Srsly.

    Also, I guess I’ll be the first to say it… “BATTLE ROLLS!” deserves to be a meme.

  92. thetalkingstove says

    @Gregory

    Is anyone else annoyed by the consistent whiteness, maleness and cis/het-ness of the Doctor (not to mention the periodic tendency toward patronising sexism with regard to his female companions)?

    Yeah. I do think Matt Smith has been pretty good, but it badly needs to move on to something new.

  93. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Gamers probably wear fedoras

  94. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    Gamers Atheists probably wear fedoras
    _____

    For fucks’ sake, can the universal slyming of gamers stop?

    It does not help to alienate minority gamers by painting gamers universally as the bad elements.

    Wouldn’t it be awful if someone were to do that with atheists?

    There’s a way to offer constructive input without the fucking splash damage.

    The feelings and identity of the majority of gamers who aren’t the bad elements matter. Knock this out.

  95. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    @Thomathy

    The conflation of broad strokes generalizations of negative characteristics that hurt the feelings of people posting with splash damage is offensive and unprogressive I’m told.

  96. hamsterWare says

    if it looks how you want it to look, the game is more fun because it’s easier to imagine it’s you. I can’t imagine how fucking irritating it is for women to constantly have to play male avatars.

    I’ll be totally honest, I find the prevalance of this type of opinion among gamers (male gamers in particular) to be significantly more irritating. I mean, not that I fault you and others like you for being mentally bound to a particular character archetype. It’s a side effect of a culture in which as a white male you (generic you, that is) can reach adulthood without ever really having to try to see things from the perspective of a protagonist who isn’t very much like you.

    That’s so limiting. I don’t think I could even make a complete list of the wonderful characters and stories I would’ve missed out on if I only really got into media starring characters who bore a strong physical resemblance to me. Those experiences have expanded my definition of ‘like me’ from ‘small, white female’ to ‘human’ (or really, to ‘thinks mostly like a human, though may not look like one’), and I think that’s a good thing. If customizable characters means everyone will simply retreat to choosing imaginary identities that strongly echo their real identities then I think gaming will really be losing one of its hugest strengths (albeit largely an unrealized strength at this moment).

    So yeah, what irritates me isn’t how I often have to play as a man. It’s how rarely I get to enjoy the experience of a distinct character who is a woman (and/or asian, and/or native american, and/or black, and/or disabled, and/or so many other possibilities). And what irritates me is how many people think the problem is that I don’t have many characters who are like me, rather than the actual problem – they’ve never had many characters who aren’t like them.

  97. psocoptera says

    This thread got me thinking. Having more female protagonists would be nice, but what if they had one with a protagonist who faces some overt and subtle discrimination for being female? It wouldn’t be the primary point of the game, by any means, but I think the frustration of having artificial obstacles might make them more receptive to concerns and complaints that women have about discrimination and sexism. Then again, reality isn’t really the point of a game. I just sometimes wish gaming had more of the social commentary qualities that good scifi has.

  98. Amphiox says

    I think I commented on this on a prior thread. Mass Effect is widely acknowledged to have one of the most compelling female lead characters in recent video games. So how was this achieved? The female and male scripts are almost identical but for a few trivial differences and the romance side plots. Femshep got a lot of the acclaim because of Hale’s superlative voice acting. The lesson I think is pretty clear. To write a good female game character you write a good CHARACTER, and execute it well!

  99. Amphiox says

    @106;

    In the rpg Arcanum, you can play either gender. There is one plot critical quest where the McGuffin bearing NPC spends 90% of his time in a men’s-only club. As a male character you just walk up to him in the club and get a standard fetch quest. But as a female you have to find him at his home at the right time, pretend to be a prostitute and have sex with him (and he’s a musogynistic slimewad…).

    Of course if you build your character as a rogue you can steal the McGuffin from him as either gender, and the evil option for both genders is to simply murder him and loot his corpse….

  100. mithrandir says

    Ivan@7: What you’re describing is the jargon of academic feminism. It can be off-putting to anyone who’s been repeatedly told that feminism is of a piece with Marxism, socialism, and all things “academic left” and that all of them are wrong and bad because reasons.

    But the solution to having a field’s jargon become demonized is not to abandon the jargon, since any new turns of phrase for describing the same phenomena will merely become demonized in their turn. The solution is to fight back against the demonization and encourage people to look at the substance underlying the jargon.

  101. Ivan says

    #11 Nick Gotts: your gravatar looks like a swastika; your argument is invalid.

    Seriously, though: I took the term “Marxist” from George Orwell’s essay that I’ve referenced in my comment.

    Marxist writing (hyena, hangman, cannibal, petty bourgeois, these gentry, lackey, flunkey, mad dog, White Guard, etc.) consists largely of words translated from Russian, German, or French; but the normal way of coining a new word is to use Latin or Greek root with the appropriate affix and, where necessary, the size formation. It is often easier to make up words of this kind (deregionalize, impermissible, extramarital, non-fragmentary and so forth) than to think up the English words that will cover one’s meaning. The result, in general, is an increase in slovenliness and vagueness

    #9 Alex W: yes, these words may be “widely accepted terminology” among feminists, godless liberals and their sympathizers (that would include me). But for the person who is not concerned with gender inequality, they look like bureaucratic bullshit. The material is good enough to arouse interest in the undecided person, but with the cunning use of pseudo-Marxist cliches the author manages to snatch defeat out of the victory’s jaws – and I’m aware that Orwell would literally crucify me for this whole sentence.

  102. says

    I’m not a video gamer but I assume that Anita’s series has flaws and factual errors that one could point out to start a discussion.

    They do, but they tend to be fairly small, as Sarkeesian is a gamer herself IIRC (and as such, knows what she’s talking about, and wants to make things better). There are enough to start a discussion, sure, but her detractors aren’t interested in discussion; they’re interested in screaming at her until she shuts up.

    I’d like see such a game, interspersed with cutscenes showing a male NPC trying to rescue you action-game style (while the game itself is a stealth puzzler), which can play up every action game cliche for comedic effect.

    Then, at the climactic moment, he charges in to your rescue, blunders into a trap, and you have to rescue him.

    That, or you have to solve a puzzle that exposes the final boss’ glowing weak point or else the erstwhile action dies miserably (and doing so is optional – you can let him be squished and still finish the game.)

    As someone who enjoys both puzzle games and action games, this is an absolutely fantastic idea. If someone decides to kickstart this, I’ll probably donate much more than I can afford.

  103. says

    Re: 103 Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts 11 June 2013 at 12:57 pm (UTC -5)

    And how is your whine any different than the number of Christians whining that they’re not assholes? How does this fix the offensive voices bubbling to the top? It doesn’t.

    It’s up to us to fix our own, not up to them to be polite about our assholes sticking out. If gamers look like losers, that’s a subjective statement. One that should be taken at face value. If your face looks like an asshole, make sure that isn’t your face. You can do that by abandoning the identity or by making sure your efforts to mitigate the damage are louder than those causing the damage. There might be other ways, too.

    But denying it doesn’t work. Nor does simply pointing out that the vast majority of even hard core gamers are not cool with this. We need to stand up and make dollars talk. Giant companies, like Blizzard for example, have moved their position because those who wanted a more equitable gaming environment were louder than those who wanted a misogynistic one. We just have further to go.

    PS: The Princess’s escape idea sounds like an awesome game, btw.

  104. imthegenieicandoanything says

    Which rock do these male horrors hide under, as I simply NEVER meet them in daily life. It must be one BIG mountain of a rock!

    My outrage really would like a physical target, asshole male POSs, so do speak out your morAnic opinions of woman where I can hear.

  105. says

    Just clicked into the thread. 113 comments so far. I haven’t read any of the comments so I am predicting at least two people defending this based on the “young male market so it’s totes ok” argument.

    Am I close?

    * off to read the thread now*

  106. Jeremy Shaffer says

    Odd, since Ron Lindsey’s recent “welcoming” lecture at WIS2 the MRAs and their supporters have been going on and on about how “shut up and listen” is such a horrible concept. However, based on the general response Sarkeesian got on Twitter it seems they find a simple “shut up” to be perfectly acceptable.

  107. Rip Steakface says

    Gaming producers are really not doing themselves a favor by not putting out more games with female leads. In purely selfish, capitalistic terms, it would allow you to access a huge, almost completely untapped market. There are only rare exceptions – I can think of only three immediately: Samus from Metroid (never talk about Other M or I smash), Joanna Dark from Perfect Dark (notably, that was a launch title on the Xbox 360… but for cheap sex appeal, completely different from her portrayal in the original N64 Perfect Dark) and Lara Croft from Tomb Raider (and she was almost entirely conceptualized as cheap sex appeal anyway).

    However, I do think it’s a little unfair to simply discount all the games that allow you to pick a female player character. Many, many RPGs do, going all the way back to Ultima. There usually isn’t significant story differences, but hey, at least the option is available. Off the top of my head, you can be female in Mass Effect, almost every The Elder Scrolls game, Fable 2 and 3 (Fable 1 had it planned but it was rushed out by their publishers), both Borderlands, every Fallout game, every Knights of the Old Republic game (canonically, KOTOR2′s player character was a light side female), and even that bastion of misogyny Final Fantasy has a sort of roundabout way of making its female characters protagonists, such as Yuna.

  108. Denverly says

    Those of us who try to make things better funded Anita Sarkeesian, and we aren’t loud enough to drown out the damage therefore loser? I’m quite gobsmacked by this attitude. How do you abandon an identity, anyway? I’ve always been a gamer. I have a tattoo of Auron from Final Fantasy X on my leg. I have over 1600 hours logged in Skyrim. I played Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 a combined total of 58 times (don’t ask me about ME3, the wounds are still too fresh). I’ve stood in line at midnight and lived through both a red ring and a yellow light of death.

    None of that means jack shit about my identity because gamers are losers (which is a subjective statement but should also be taken at face value) and if I don’t want to be perceived as a loser, be louder than the real loser gamers, and ….

    Shit I give up. Commander Denverly Shepard, of the Atheist Feminist Gamer Navy, Loser Brigade, reporting for duty. Thanks for this thread. I actually didn’t realize how important my identity as a gamer was until Crissa suggested I needed to abandon it.

  109. Anthony K says

    Rip Steakface, I would add Jade from Beyond Good & Evil as a female protagonist who was consciously designed not to be overly sexualised. She’s a great character.

  110. says

    Ivan, by your logic, lefties should come up with new jargon every time someone decides to take exception to them. That, essentially, denies us the ability to communicate our ideas. I’m willing to bet that you kind of don’t really get why Orwell came up with Newspeak…

  111. Rip Steakface says

    @119

    She was noted in that Extra Credits episode Lorraine mentioned. Excellent character… plus, my girlfriend happens to be named Jade :P.

    Not really related that much (though tangentially) to video games, but Warhammer 40,000, for all its barbarism and black and black morality, does surprisingly well sometimes with female characters. Some of the books feature strong, badass female characters who seriously just happen to be female. They blast up Orks and expel Eldar just like the absurdly masculine Space Marines. Speaking of the Eldar, many of their highest leaders are female, especially Farseers.

  112. says

    Long time lurker, rare poster.

    I call myself a gamer because I know it will !@#$ the slyme of the gamer community off. :D

    And Queen Mara Cousland of Ferelden, Viscount Isa Hawke of Kirkwall, Commander Valkyrie Shepard of the Alliance and Legate Aurelia Dragonborn reporting for duty in the loser brigade!

  113. Denverly says

    @ dawnbyrnes: I knew I wasn’t the only one! DA3 “announcement” had Morrigan and Varric! I do believe party banter between them shall be legendary. It’s been a while since I visited Ferelden. Maybe it’s time to go back for a bit.

  114. says

    I don’t know how many launch titles have been announced — no doubt almost all their protagonists are male as well — and this one’s more indie than AAA, but the PS4 had at least one game announced with a female protagonist: Transistor.

    It’s pretty low-key compared to the big titles, but I’m already more interested in this than just about anything else coming down the pipe.

  115. says

    Denverly,
    If they’re companions, sure. I suspect they’ll be NPCs though. *cries*

    It’s why I play single-player RPGs. I can’t get into a guy’s headspace for long periods of time, and since I fanfic most of my playthroughs (and AU most of those fanfics), I only play female characters.

    I wanna shove them slymers through that giant rip in the sky in the DA3 teaser though… Reckon that dragon’s hungry? ^_^

  116. says

    My teenage daughter (a gamer) and myself (gamer dad) were talking about this earlier. We had some very similar ideas to those suggested here about a trope-busting game. I think it would be abso-freaking-lutely awesome, and there’s never been a better time for an indie developer to get such a thing to the market. I just wish I knew anything at all about designing and building a game. The tools are out there and easily accessible, but the learning curve is steep. :-/

    Off topic: Video gaming comes up around FtB fairly regularly, and many have shared their frustrations about online gaming. I’ve been a gamer for as long as I can remember, but I’ve only given online multiplayer a try on a handful of occasions, for all the reasons people here have expressed. Gaming is my escape, my hobby, something I do to have fun. Dealing with a bunch of complete assholes just saps all the pleasure out of it for me. And each of the few times I dipped my toes in the online gaming waters, the experience was… unpleasant.

    So that long-winded preamble was to set up the question: has anyone thought about putting together a list of gamers who frequent FtB and would like to hook up with like-minded players? I know there have been some guilds for specific games, but what I’m thinking of is a list to swap PSN, XBL, Steam, etc., IDs so folks can build up their list of “friends” with people they can be reasonably sure aren’t the type to shout racist/sexist/ableist/so-forth slurs and rape threats the whole time.

  117. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    Ugh, why did I read the link? Fuck me but that was depressing.

  118. =8)-DX says

    Video gaming dad here, tajparis. But then we only play things I can get to run on my shitty laptop, so not much hot 3D multiplayer action is within my reach, plus I’m on GMT+1.

  119. w00dview says

    Rip Steakface:

    even that bastion of misogyny Final Fantasy has a sort of roundabout way of making its female characters protagonists, such as Yuna.

    I’m not an expert on Final Fantasy but if I recall isn’t the main protagonist in FF VI a woman? FF VI is also considered the best in the series by many fans, I wonder if the characterization would be a factor in that? I wonder what do people here think of that character and if she would be considered one of the better female protagonists in video games?

  120. vaiyt says

    @woodview
    Terra is… a complicated character to hold as an example, to say the least. It’s interesting that the game gives everyone a fair amount of “screentime” but the two most important characters are women (with Locke following them around to act as a figurehead male star). Terra is vital to the plot and the centerpiece in the first half of the game, but there’s several problems in her story which I believe some people here can explain better.

    I rather prefer Celes, who is arguably the protagonist of the second half. She’s the opposite of Terra in many regards, and apart from the prison rescue scene right in the beginning she’s consistently a badass general with no secret vulnerability. In fact, it’s *Locke* who goes through the motions in their romantic sidequest. Her defining scene is when Kefka tries to manipulate her like he did Terra, and her reaction is to stab him in the gut.

  121. vaiyt says

    I’d just go with the suggestion of a little girl and make a game about a princess that uses a sword to hunt zombies.

  122. w00dview says

    Thanks for the info, Vaiyt. Celes actually sounds like a pretty cool character, it is just a pity that I can’t get into Final fantasy in general (Hate random battles, absolutely despise that mechanic, I only tolerate it in Pokemon!). However, that reminds me of an interesting example in Chrono Trigger. The cavewoman Ayla and the techno genius Lucca. Ayla is an absolute powerhouse who I always had in my team and Lucca was handled really well. She did not rely on anyone else, smart and the section of the game where you can prevent the death of her mother was really well done for a game made in 1995.

  123. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    Nice to see the same stereotyping of gamers is going on here as the stereotyping of fedora wearers was in the other thread. Stay classy, folks!

  124. says

    #111: Not to sound too sarcastic, but most of the terminology I used in the first paragraph of a paper sounds like Star Trek dialogue, but I’m not about to stop using it when I’m engaging in a discussion with my peers.

    Also I’m not going to take writing advice from Orwell, a man who honestly thought that the English language was proscribed.

  125. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    133: I’m a gamer, and my response to being stereotyped is that 1. that’s fair, because the gaming community has been co-opted and run by the self-interested neckbeard contigent for a long time, and 2. we’ve done a completely shit job of self-policing. I’m a white male and technically fit in with that group of young men in the gamer community, but I argue with them all the time about this shit. I think a little shaming would do them good, frankly.

  126. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    See, if “gamer” became synonymous with “sexist douchebag”, I think the response of non-sexist gamers should be to finally address the problems in the community. Too many of us engage in the “I play games but I’m not a gamer” tactic, which pretends to exit us from the community and absolve us of any responsibility. I’ve even done that, but I recognize now that it’s total bullshit.

  127. says

    @ Josh 27: If we are going to base what we say on how we think sexists will twist it later, aren’t you afraid someone will take your statement and use it to claim that social justice people don’t care about accuracy, only about making their narrative? And what’s with the implication that if people say the right things, sexists will forget about us? And since when do we say that we should let false or misleading statements go unchallenged if we like the speaker?

  128. says

    I think one of the more interesting questions about this stereotypical gamer behavior is how much games themselves encourage it. Sexism and homophobia are most prominent issues, but they’re tied up with purity and authenticity policing. The developers haven’t been much to encourage sexism and a few have been trying to discourage, at least in terms of player behavior, if not in their character designs, but they all encourage the authenticity policing because it’s good for sales. When you try to market based on the idea that your customers are an elite class, it’s inevitable they’ll find groups to try to label poseurs to increase their own status. Society being what it is, women are one of the easiest targets.

  129. Ivan says

    #134 Alex W: that’s my question: does Anita Sarkeesian address her posts/podcasts/videos only to “peers” (as feminism is not a science discipline, this term has to be taken informally)? If so, then there are no problems at all.
    However, I think the message could be expressed in plain, clear words, and thus target a larger audience, including people that honestly (and misguidedly) believe that sexism is not a problem.

    I didn’t quite get your words about “man who honestly thought that the English language was proscribed”. Which words of Orwell are you referencing? Anyhow, in my opinion the writing advice he gave may be applied to almost any language.